Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/820

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priate to diminish as much as possible the danger of using the new agent; and, for neglect of the superintendents to give these instructions, the proprietors were required in both cases to pay damages.

The importance of some education of the working classes on these matters is increased by the frequency with which new explosives are introduced. One, called "explosive jelly," was brought to notice early last summer. It is made by dissolving nitro-glycerine and gun-cotton in ether, and then evaporating the ether; and it is said to be the most powerful of the nitro-glycerine compounds, though it can be exploded only by a detonator, which fact diminishes danger. A novelty called "dynamoge" is mentioned in late European papers.

Folly of workmen solves many of this class of disasters. In Sawyer City, Pennsylvania, a gang of men digging a well were about to set a torpedo for blasting. The foreman, said to have been an intemperate man, hastily poured two quarts of nitro-glycerine into the shell, and then attempted to fit the cap to its place. It was tight, he gave it an angry blow with his fist, the charge exploded, and five men were killed, three others being badly hurt. Criminal use of dynamite has been detected in several cases. A Brooklyn man found a dynamite bomb-shell under the stoop of his house, apparently put there in the night by some enemy, and the fuse lighted; but a friendly rain-storm had extinguished the fuse. In Ohio a workman found a yellowish roll lying lengthwise on one of the rails of the Baltimore and Ohio road. He did not know what it was, but it was tested by the superintendent, and found to be dynamite in sufficient quantity to have blown any train to atoms. It was evidently placed to wreck an express train then nearly due. On the Great Northern Railway in Ireland the guard detected nine pounds of dynamite which a passenger was carrying for some unlawful purpose, and took it from him. In Central America, a merchant was murdered by a new and ingenious use of dynamite. The charge was placed in the large lock of his store-door, with the exploder arranged to be set off! by the door-key. He was instantly killed on attempting to unlock the door. When such an attempt is successful, the laws are efficient to punish it. But in most of the States the laws are defective in regard to mere attempts or plots. The statute books punish shooting at a person or administering poison, although he be not killed or even hurt; but, perhaps, say nothing about schemes fully as dangerous for destroying life or property by these explosives. Apparently the means are so novel that Legislatures have not had time to think of them. The advice to give instruction on these subjects to school pupils and workmen should probably be extended to embrace the lawmakers of the land.

There are curious infelicities in the laws as to carrying explosive powders about the country. Cities and towns very generally have ordinances which restrict carting them through the crowded streets, but